Easy, Homemade BBQ Sauce – The Real Food Way!

Posted · 37 Comments

Easy, Homemade BBQ Sauce - The Real Food Way | myhumblekitchen.com

Besides gardening, what I love about spring is that it’s the beginning of bbq season! For me and mine, that usually means more recipes using a good, thick, sweet and tangy bbq sauce. I like to make pulled pork sandwiches in the slow cooker, bbq pork ribs and beef short ribs, ham hock with baked beans, and, of course, bbq chicken pizza… my favorite!


Unfortunately, many bbq sauces sold pre-bottled have many processed ingredients including high fructose corn syrup. It’s a blessing that you can now find some good organic options but finding one with a good robust flavor can prove itself to be a bit more difficult.

Why buy when you can make, right? Especially when it’s so easy to do.

Easy, Homemade BBQ Sauce - The Real Food Way | myhumblekitchen.com

I’ve been working on my bbq sauce recipe over the past couple of years, tinkering with a couple of the ingredients each time I made it. I’ve been pleased to have received great feedback from it each time I serve it to family and friends. My homemade bbq sauce is a Kansas City style sauce. It’s tomato based, sweet, and tangy… but not too tangy. It’s robust, thick and savory, and best of all… easy to make.

I start by dicing a large shallot.

Easy, Homemade BBQ Sauce - The Real Food Way | myhumblekitchen.com

I saute it in a heavy bottomed sauce pan with garlic for just a couple of minutes in extra virgin olive oil. Once the shallots and garlic start to turn translucent and brown a bit, I add a can of tomato paste, some water, honey, molasses, red wine vinegar, dijon mustard, fish sauce, and salt.

Easy, Homemade BBQ Sauce - The Real Food Way | myhumblekitchen.com

This fish sauce makes all the difference, in my opinion. It adds deep, salty undertones to the bbq sauce and balances the flavors in the other ingredients. Red Boat is 100% pure, first press, extra virgin, Vietnamese fish sauce made from only two ingredients, black anchovies and salt. Nothing else. I love the deep flavors that it creates. I use it to replace soy and worcestershire sauce in my recipes. (This is not a sponsored post, I just love the stuff!)

Once all of the ingredients have been added, I allow it to simmer for 15 minutes before I blend all of the ingredients together with my immersion blender.

Easy, Homemade BBQ Sauce - The Real Food Way | myhumblekitchen.com

And, that’s it! See… easy and incredibly yummy. Yup, homemade bbq sauce. Another reason for loving spring!

Easy, Homemade BBQ Sauce – The Real Food Way!

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 2 1/2 cups

Easy, Homemade BBQ Sauce – The Real Food Way!

A Kansas City style, tomato based, sweet and tangy homemade bbq sauce! Robust, thick, and savory!


  • 1 large shallot (1/3 cup), minced
  • 2 tbls extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
  • 1 6oz can tomato paste
  • 2 cans water, from empty tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbls fish sauce
  • 1 tbls dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp large granule salt


  1. In a small heavy bottomed sauce pan, gently heat 2 tbls extra virgin olive oil. Add the shallots and garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes or until the shallots start to turn translucent and just start to brown.
  2. Add the tomato paste and water; mix through. Allow to come to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the molasses, honey, vinegar, fish sauce, dijon mustard, and salt; mix through, bring to a boil the lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes more.

By the way, my Better Than Fast Food Chicken Nuggets taste absolutely phenomenal dipped into this homemade bbq sauce 😉

Do you make your own bbq sauce? Please share with us some of your favorite recipes using bbq sauce?

37 Responses to "Easy, Homemade BBQ Sauce – The Real Food Way!"
  1. Dena Norton says:

    Thanks for another great-looking recipe, Diana – pinned! :)

  2. Dineen says:

    I’ve made my own BBQ sauce starting from organic corn-syrup free ketchup and using just sorghum cane syrup (where you use molasses), mustard powder, ginger, garlic and onion. Keeping BBQ sauce (all condiments) low sugar is important in my family because we have members who have diabetes and we want to keep their carbohydrates coming from other sources.
    Your fish sauce addition sounds wonderful.

  3. Erin says:

    Thank you for this recipe and your 25 day grace filled journey! We’re still trying to make changes, actually baby steps but still headed in the natural, real food direction! BBQ Sauce is huge for us- my DH loves to smoke food and I’m excited to try your recipe :)

  4. momof5 says:

    i’m allergic to seafood so i’m glad you included that soy sauce or worchestershire sauce are substitutes for the fish sauce. i can’t wait to try this! and i really want to your recipe for BBQ chicken pizza! :)

    • Diana Bauman says:

      The bbq chicken pizza is so easy. I think soon I’ll have to share my crust recipe. Really, once you have the crust ready to go, just slater on the bbq sauce and top it with shredded chicken, red onions, cheddar, and Pecorino Romano cheeses. I bake it in a parbaked pizza stone at 500F for 10 minutes. Super yummy!

    • Amy says:

      We have a seafood allergy in our family too! Be careful with the Worcestershire sauce as some are made with anchovies!

  5. Looks and sounds incredible! How long will it keep in fridge?

  6. Judy says:

    Sounds great! I’ve always hated that the store bought BBQ sauce has high fructose corn syrup as the number one ingredient. I don’t buy products with that ingredient except for BBQ sauce. Now I can make your recipe and not have to buy it anymore. Woohoo! I can’t wait to go shopping for the ingredients. Have you tried freezing it?

  7. Tina says:

    Hi Diane,

    Do you think this sauce could be fermented with whey? That would make it last longer in the fridge.

    • Diana Bauman says:

      You know, Tina, I don’t really think it needs to be fermented so that it would last longer. Simply because of the acidity in the tomatoes and honey. I think those natural preservatives will keep it good for a while. But fermenting would add some great beneficial bacteria for the gut 😀

  8. Allie says:

    This looks delicious !! I am just curious if you know how long it stays good for after making?!(: I’m really excited to try some!

  9. sue says:

    Have you ever tried canning your sauce?

  10. Janine says:

    Thanks for sharing. I have tried a few with little success. Although I admit, the fish sauce scares me a bit. Anchovies? (shiver). I will try it first with soy sauce and work my way up to fish sauce. Pinned!

  11. Kristin says:

    I’ve been in desperate need of a good homemade BBQ sauce, so thank you!! I have a ton of grass-fed ribs sitting in my freezer destined for this sauce.

  12. Sue says:

    This sounds wonderful! Which kind/brand of molasses do you use, Diana?

  13. Lynn Cupp says:

    This is a great recipe. I made a bunch to put on my meatballs for Easter. Yum. I haven’t had bbq sauce since I have been reading labels, so this recipe really excited me. Turned out great.

  14. Tanya says:

    I would love the recipe for your bbq chicken pizza!!

  15. Tina says:

    I made your recipe today. It tastes great but it is not thick. Should it be?


  16. Tina says:

    Hi Dana,

    I just realized that I had to substitute maple syrup for some of the honey. That may be why it is thin. Don’t you just love when people change your recipes and then ask you why they didn’t turn out?! Sorry.

  17. Tamara says:

    Wow!! Never am I ever buying bbq sauce again! My husband was licking the spoon asking if he could drink it! SOO, so good!!!

  18. Kathy says:

    YUMMY! Just made for my husband, who loves Sweet Baby Rays (Blech!!) I made some changes out of desire and necessity…I used one cup light molasses (what I had, still all natural) and a bit of stevia….added some smoked paprika and cayenne and Sriracha hot chili sauce (just a bit!) subbed Worcestershire and liquid aminos for the fish sauce (which I didn’t have) it’s delicious!! Much more flavorful that Rays goop!! Thanks so much!!

  19. Erin says:

    Excellent! Better tasting than the stuff from the barbecue restaurant. I cut the honey in half and added cayenne pepper, because we like spicy more than sweet. I chose your recipe because it didn’t require ketchup and I liked the idea of shallots. Thank you!!!

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